As the country prepares for Alert Level 2, the eight iwi of Taranaki are announcing that today will be the final day of iwi community checkpoints in the Taranaki region.
Updated data, which covers the period 27 April – 6 May, shows that there has been a high level of inter-regional travel into the Taranaki region despite Alert Level 3 travel restrictions. At the Pātea checkpoint 64.5% of motorists had come from outside the region, while at Urenui 32% of motorists had come from outside the region.
Complete data will be shared with relevant agencies and will be used to assist with health modelling for the national pandemic response.
“We established these checkpoints to help keep COVID-19 out of Taranaki and protect our whakapapa through encouraging appropriate Alert Level 3 travel behaviour, educating travellers and reducing unnecessary travel into our rohe,” says North Taranaki iwi spokesperson Liana Poutu.
“We are proud to have played an important role alongside other iwi across the country and the NZ Police in limiting the risk of community transmission while at Alert Level 3, but we are also concerned that there was still a high level of inter-regional travel to our region despite the checkpoints being in place,” said Ms Poutu.
Local communities in Taranaki have actively supported the operation of the checkpoints, with many locals volunteering their time and service, and local businesses providing catering.
“As we prepare to move towards Alert Level 2 and close our checkpoints, we want to thank all the people who supported this kaupapa from the bottom of our hearts – our iwi and community volunteers, the Taranaki Police, the local businesses and individuals who provided practical and moral support, and everyone from around the country who sent messages of support,” said South Taranaki iwi spokesperson Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
“It has been humbling that our eight iwi in Taranaki have united in such a strong way to protect our communities. We are so grateful for the overwhelming affirmation and encouragement from our community and their recognition that we are committing our iwi resources to these checkpoints for the benefit of the whole region, and indeed Aotearoa,” said Mrs Ngarewa-Packer.